Waterbury: Floating Houses


I was 15 in August of 1955 and lived on the west side of Waterbury near the country club. On that morning we drove down Sunnyside Avenue, a steep hillside street leading down to the river. We stood on a baseball field overlooking the town and watched in horrified wonder as three-story houses floated down the Naugatuck River.

Later in the day, we drove up toward Thomaston and saw the workers at the Chase Brass rolling mills standing on the roof as helicopters flew up and down the river, effecting rescues.

For days afterward, my dad, who was a doctor, worked at St. Mary's Hospital assisting with the injured victims and exhausted members of the fire and police departments who were working directly in the flooded areas of town. We collected men's clothing for them as the items they wore in their work had to be burned afterward to prevent the spread of disease.

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